The Los Angeles Clippers are starting to figure things out with Blake Griffin back in the lineup. But what really makes them a juicy NBA pick on Wednesday is their opponents: the New York Knicks.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 23: 59-52-4 ATS, 5-10 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
March Madness, Scmarch Madness. Don’t get us wrong; we enjoy the NCAA men’s college basketball Tournament, and it’s a fantastic betting opportunity. But almost all of these “men” have a lot of work to do before they’re ready for the big time. Even the Kentucky Wildcats would probably get de-clawed by any NBA team, no matter what Larry Brown says.
Yes, that includes the New York Knicks. Too bad we don’t have a relegation system where the Knicks would have to play in the Big East next year. Instead, they get to draft someone like Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns. Unless New York trades yet another first-round pick for a handful of magic beans. Towns might be 19 right now, but he’ll be all grown-up soon. He could be their next Patrick Ewing. So could Jahlil Okafor. Those are the kind of players who can beat the NBA odds down the road.
L.A. Clippers vs. New York Knicks (7:00 p.m. ET, MSG)
For now, the Knicks (14-57 SU, 27-42-2 ATS) will have to make do with Andrea Bargnani (16.5 PER, minus-3.8 BPM). Yikes. Bargnani can still do some nice things on offense, especially now that he’s in his preferred role as a starting big and the first scoring option. But aside from 1.2 blocks per 36 minutes, his defense (minus-2.7 BPM) is poor, and his leadership qualities are invisible to the naked eye. Plus, our hero Alexey Shved (20.7 PER, plus-2.1 BPM) is iffy to play Wednesday with a sore rib.
The Clippers (46-25 SU, 31-40 ATS) dropped their first two games ATS with Blake Griffin (22.7 PER, plus-3.8 BPM) back in action, but they’ve covered two of three since. The entire starting five is finally intact for the Clips, although sixth-man Jamal Crawford (17.5 PER, minus-0.8 BPM) could end up missing the rest of the season with a severely bruised calf. Isn’t that how they make veal?
Free NBA Pick: Take the Clippers at BetOnline
Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic (7:00 p.m. ET)
Don’t look now, but the Hawks (53-17 SU, 43-26-1 ATS) have dropped three straight games SU and ATS. They appear to have used up all their value against the NBA odds, and they’ve also run into injury problems at just the wrong time. At least Kyle Korver (14.8 PER, plus-3.4 BPM) is back from that broken nose, but he’s wearing a mask that seems to be affecting his shooting. I wanted to make a lucha libre joke here, but I can’t. RIP Perro Aguayo Jr.
The Magic (22-50 SU, 37-34-1 ATS) haven’t been winning many games down the stretch, but they’ve covered two of their last three, and they’re on a 6-0 ATS streak against Atlanta. Young Elfrid Payton (13.3 PER, minus-1.2 BPM) has improved considerably on offense; he had back-to-back triple-doubles last week against Dallas and Portland to send the Magic to the pay window.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Magic at 5Dimes
Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8:00 p.m. ET)
We’re going to fade the Rockets (47-23 SU, 41-29 ATS) in this matchup, not because they haven’t been playing well of late, but because Dwight Howard (18.0 PER, minus-1.4 BPM) is expected to make his return after missing 26 games with knee problems. It should take a few games for Howard to work himself back into game shape, and his offense (minus-2.7 OBPM) has already been suspect this year.
When we talk about the Pelicans (37-33 SU, 39-31 ATS), it’s all about their MVP candidate, Anthony Davis (31.4 PER, plus-7.2 BPM) and whether or not he can play. Davis is back for now, and while just about everyone else on the Pellies is injured, Davis is so good and so underrated that he makes New Orleans a solid NBA pick in just about every game he plays. You know who could use a guy like that? The Knicks.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Pelicans at The Greek